Kate runs Apricot Salmon Design, selling drawings and paintings she makes in Switzerland.

Introduce your shop

When I was a child I would spend a lot of time immersed in nature between our summers in Norway or wherever we were living at the time. I relished the great outdoors and vastly enjoyed playing with insects and flowers, inventing extravagant perfumes from the flowers in the nearby forests. The adventures I went on involved looking for fantastical caterpillars or making grassy homes for snails and other insects. I became absorbed in these experiences and this is where the inspiration for my drawings and paintings quickly emerged. The macro world was my sacred dwelling place, and fueled my passion for the whimsical, dreams and the natural world.

The range of images I've been creating over the years are a take on my curiosity and sense of wonder at that time, as well as a deep interest in the unconscious, the senses, flora and fauna, storytelling, whimsical imaginary characters, colour and a feeling of arriving home. I practice mindfulness, and there is something meditative about how I feel when I create, so I suppose there's a spiritual aspect present, too.

When did you turn your craft into a business?

After finishing school, I knew I wanted to pursue art as a career but found studying Fine Art at university more difficult than anticipated. I hadn't quite found my voice so decided to put my studies on hold while trying to figure out what to do next. After a series of career searches, I finally realised that what I wanted was to create my own brand and connect through my creativity, and that's how Apricot Salmon Design was born. I set about documenting the work I had accumulated over the years and fostered a new found excitement at the prospect of pursuing my artistic career. In 2016 everything started falling into place as I moved forward with a clear sense of purpose, and in April of 2017 I was ready to open my Etsy shop. As well as promoting my brand, I've been attending markets and design fairs and I'm thrilled that there are people out there who connect with my work! It really spurs me on and is a vital part of the creative process for me.

Apricot Salmon Design

How did you come up with the name for your store?

It's my favourite colour! It's funny because I heard someone describe something as apricot salmon once, and I immediately knew that if I were ever to have a brand, that would be the name.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I'd heard from several creative friends, that Etsy was a great platform for emerging brands and artists so it was sort of a no brainer to eventually open a shop there. There are so many wonderful shops and it feels exciting to be part of something so personal and so diverse. Everyone has their own story, their own product, and I wanted to be a part of that.

Do you talk to your customers? Do you run your website or blog, social media?

I love when customers approach me with any inquiries and I thoroughly enjoy mingling with people at markets. It's always great getting feedback and I especially enjoy hearing how and why people connect with my work. I have a Facebook page as a blog and I use my Instagram and Twitter accounts to update any projects I might be working on. I also have a Pinterest page that I update with pieces and have many boards that I go to for inspiration or research.

What’s your most favorite product?

My favourite piece is HJEM, which means home in Norwegian, and really evokes a sense of calm and tranquility. I spent a lot of time fishing as a kid and peering into the water admiring the gentle jellies, wondering what life was like under the sea. It was also one of the first pieces I created after university and where I developed a painting technique I really enjoyed using! I use a lot of Indian inks and watercolours, which are some of my favourite mediums. I love the fluidity of the paint and how it takes on a life of its own.

What are your future goals?

I'm currently working across a range of media; including designs for print and textiles inspired by the patterns of moth wings, as well as creating little sea creatures out of wool called Fatterplats. However, I'm most excited about painting with oil on canvas again. It feels like quite a transformative time in my life, and I'd like to further explore themes of renewal, metamorphosis and the transience of life through the rich medium of oils.

What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?

Up until recently, unless I have a very clear idea of what I set out to paint, I tend to let the movement of the inks guide me. I guess you could almost compare it to cloud watching. An image will sort of appear and then I add details using fine-liner pens or a fine brush picking out highlights. It's like a dream or a distant memory that becomes more vivid, and then suddenly I know what the story is. I enjoy that approach a lot but have a lot of ideas at the moment, that I'm looking forward to creating using photographs and research, rather than going with the flow.

Where and when do you find yourself most creatively inspired?

Inspiration is such an elusive concept and I think a big part of the creative process is just showing up every day to create, with an open mind and some personal goals or a vision of where you want to go. Sometimes it's about feeding your interests, reading about people you admire, or delving into a subject that you're curious about and know absolutely nothing about. Other times it might just be chance and seeing what happens when you play around with different media. It's so important to stay curious and embrace learning new things, as that allows you to experience with fresh eyes, and that's an exciting place to be in!